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Use of landmines: globally prohibited

Data privacy measure to bolster PH's top rank in BPO – Romulo

8ID starts month-long Christmas celebration

NPA attacks unarmed soldiers one hurt and killing another

Samar politicians denounce partisan activities of the military and police

Dir. Leo Cañeda bares Eastern Visayas Agricultural Development’s Status and Strategic directions

Pacquiao will have to wait 12 years to run for president, says House colleague

NPA attack innocent civilians in Calbayog

Calbayog Sanitary Landfill, 95% complete and one of the bests in the Philippines or Asia

Cong. Sarmiento prioritizes ICT infusion in school




Civilian survivors dismiss Salas’s statements as total lies

By CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
December 23, 2010

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar  –  Civilian survivors dismissed the statement of Santiago Salas, a discharged priest turned spokesman of the National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) as a total lie for making a story far apart from what really transpired when soldiers and civilians were brutally and mercilessly murdered by the terrorist New People’s Army (NPA) in two separate incidents in Las Navas on December 8 and 14, respectively that claimed lives not only of the soldiers but of the innocent civilians. [AFP troops killing, torturing and using civilians as human shields]

As what is expected, the NDF-EV made a total denial and washes their hands after intentionally waylaying soldiers who were not in the offensive mode despite of civilians around.  Two (2) civilians were killed in the first ambush while one (1) in the second.  Two among the three who were killed were minors.

Rolls of electrical wires recovered by responding government troops that were used by the NPAs in their landmines when they ambushed the soldiers.

These lies were challenge by the angry survivors who saw for themselves how ruthless the NPA terrorists were.  According to them, despite of their beggings, the rebels kept on firing on them.  One survivor even dramatized how he and his companions waved their arms widely open while shouting, “Tama na! Tama na! Mga sibilyan kami!” (Enough! Enough! We are civilians!). He was already slightly wounded that moment when he was shouting for mercy at the rebels.  The father of the murdered minor, the operator of motorized banca said that he saw his son banished under the river’s current after falling over board when his boat was indiscriminately fired upon by the terrorists.

The victims are crying for justice.  Justice from the inhuman and dastardly acts of the NPA who profess to be the protector of the masses.  But the truth is crystal clear.  They (NPA) are the tormentor and oppressor of the people.  Salas, is truly a master of black propaganda and deception aimed at misleading the masses of the real truth.

"Salas should thank the AFP's serious protection and preservation of the people’s rights so he can enjoy freedom of expression.  Sad thing is, Salas uses this right to steal the truth from the people and has been committing grave offense to the people by suppressing their rights to know the truth."

Salas is also being hooked up his tongue when he claimed that the troops forcibly boarded the motorized banca owned by Julito Casio.  Salas obviously didn’t know what is happening in the ground.  Casio, in behalf of the residents of Brgy. Poponton, was the one who sought assistance from the troops for the conduct of Barangay Peace and Order Council (BPOC) meeting in reaction to the threat posed by the NPA after they mercilessly murdered a local resident Torib Diaz, and dumped his dead body in Hinaga river in Poponton.

When the communist terrorists open fired at the approaching banca, Casio was one among the passengers who was hit by the first burst of fire and died instantaneously.  One soldier was killed and two others were wounded because the terrorist kept on firing them even though they have already jumped into the river which is a total violation of Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed between the government and communist rebels particularly the provision in Part IV, Article 4, Section 2 which states that, “the wounded and the sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the armed conflict which has them in its custody or responsibility”.  Moreover, Article 3, Section 4 which states that, “desecration of the remains of those who have died in the course of armed conflict or while under detention, and breach of duty to tender immediately such remains to their families or to give them decent burial,” was also violated when the ten soldiers killed in a landmine ambush in adjacent of Brgy. Perez, Las Navas, were looted and left behind like slaughtered animals by the rebels.

With these inhuman acts, Salas as well as his brutal cohorts is guilty of violating the peoples’ rights.

The people are no longer passive component in an insurgency problem.  They are intelligent enough to see what is the real face of the CPP-NPA NDF. Especially now that the people of Northern Samar cries for justice for the countless violation of human rights perpetrated by the terrorist NPA.  Noteworthy to mention are the policemen who were busted by landmines in Imelda, Catarman while responding to a security problem in the barangay, the killing of unarmed soldiers bathing in the water fall in Las Navas by NPA snipers, the river-line ambush of unarmed soldiers and civilians in Brgy. Taylor also in Las Navas, and the treacherous landmine ambush of ten soldiers whose only intention is to secure the people in the far-away barrio against the oppression of the rebels.

The Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the CARHRIHL should investigate the increasing human rights violations of the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF in Northern Samar.  May justice be the crowning glory of these people and soldiers who were victims of the massive anti-human rights campaign of the CPP-NPA-NDF.





Military, police and media collaborate for transparency and harmony

December 22, 2010

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  –  A call for collaboration between the military, police and the media came when Northern Samar is at the peak of insurgency due to successive agitation brought about by the New People Army’s impulsive attacks.

In a fellowship conducted recently at the 803rd Brigade, Camp Juan Ponce Sumuroy in Catarman, Northern Samar, Colonel Oscar Lopez and Northern Samar Provincial Director Brigido Unay convened the media not only to celebrate Christmas but to form a partnership.

Brigade Commander Lopez said that each one should be reminded of its responsibility not only for him/herself but for the people and be accountable for any misdemeanor committed.

He acknowledged the role of media in upholding their advocacy programs.

Provincial Director Unay on the other hand said that media efforts should be in harmony with the PNP’s thrusts in order to achieve its purpose – be of service to the community and the province as a whole. It needs to establish a solid media group to improve the relationship, he said.

In behalf of the media, Tito Tepace and Rachel Arnaiz of DYSM Catarman affirmed that the presence of journalists in every military/police related activity had been felt ever since though there were instances that “transparency” became an issue.

Catarman Tribune publisher and columnist Eladio Perfecto, one of the prime movers of said fellowship had been very grateful for the realization of said endeavor.  Amidst the shaky peace and order situation in the province due to successive ambush incidents causing fatalities to members of the local police and military, these occurrences did not affect the pursuance of achieving partnership between the three indispensable stakeholders.

The fellowship was attended both by members of the 803rd brigade and provincial police as well as broadcast and print media of Northern Samar. There was even a plan to converge regularly in order to strengthen the group.





AFP troops killing, torturing and using civilians as human shields

Press Release
By NDF-Eastern Visayas
December 20, 2010

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas said today that the Armed Forces of the Philippines was killing, torturing and using civilians as human shields in military operations in Las Navas, Northern Samar from November-December. "The human rights violations of the AFP's 8th Infantry Division are being suppressed while malicious accusations are levied against the New People's Army for black propaganda," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. "The AFP's human rights violations were committed in the course of widespread military operations beginning in the first week of December. These combat operations are continuing even after the start of the AFP's ceasefire declaration on Dec. 16."

Fr. Salas said that 8th ID troops used civilians as human shields, which led to the death of two civilians in the NPA riverside ambush on Dec. 8 between Brgy. Taylor and Brgy. Impon. "According to a report from the NPA's Rogelio Bantilo Command, four civilians were about to leave Las Navas town proper for Brgy. Poponton on a "dalamas" (motorized banca), when six soldiers from the 83rd Civil Military Operations Unit suddenly boarded. Julito Casio, the owner of the boat and incumbent barangay captain of Brgy. Poponton, protested the presence of armed men, fearing ambush by the NPA. But the soldiers, who were out of uniform, ignored Casio's protests and demanded passage. Red fighters from the RBC spotted the boat and the armed men on their way and opened fire, because the NPA was aware for several months of continuous military operations and knew that the soldiers involved were disguised as civilians. Four soldiers were killed or wounded, but two others immediately leaped free from the boat upon the burst of gunfire.

"The Red fighters approached the boat and discovered that there were civilian casualties – all of whom were still alive. But when the Red fighters were about to rescue the wounded civilians, the two soldiers who had earlier escaped suddenly began strafing. The soldiers' shooting killed one Red fighter and wounded another, while Brgy. Capt. Casio was also hit in the head and died instantly. The NPA was forced to withdraw and was no longer able to rescue the civilian casualties, one of whom, 15-year-old Edwin Gudgad, also died later."

Fr. Salas noted the AFP troops violated international humanitarian law, by using the civilians as human shields, and by indiscriminately firing when they had saved themselves and knew that there still civilians left behind who were bound to be hit. "The NPA regrets and apologizes for the incident and will strive to indemnify the civilian victims. Meanwhile, the AFP should also acknowledge its accountability and indemnify the victims they had put in danger in the first place, and whom it denies shooting because it is claimed the AFP troops never opened fire."

In relation to this, the NDF-EV spokesperson also said that Brgy. Capt. Casio had gone to Las Navas town proper to report to the police and municipal authorities about the killing by soldiers in his village of a civilian. "Before the ambush, Brgy. Capt. Casio had complained to government authorities that soldiers from the Bravo Company of the 87th IB had killed Torib de la Cruz on the night of Dec. 4 in Brgy. Poponton. De la Cruz, who was mentally handicapped, had gone drinking with the soldiers, who were also with private armed group members "Aresgado" and "Cabatoan". The villagers discovered his bruised and bloodied body floating in the river the next day; he had been stabbed thrice in the chest and also suffered a gunshot wound. The details of this incident was suppressed by the military, who instead focused on maligning the NPA for the Dec. 8 ambush."

Fr. Salas cited other human rights violations by the military in Las Navas:

1. An MG-520 attack helicopter strafed the farmlands between Brgy. Cuenco and Brgy. Capotoan on Nov. 28.

2. Up to 164 AFP troops began basing in Brgy. Poponton starting on the first week of December, mingling with civilians in their houses.

3. An 18-year-old peasant youth, Aido Yanay, was shot at by soldiers while working in his farm but fortunately escaped unharmed on Dec. 8 in Brgy. Paco. The troops were identified as from the Bravo Company of the 87th IB, who chased Yanay while shouting that he must be an NPA member. The soldiers also burned Yanay's 40-kilo abaca produce worth about P1,600, as well as other personal belongings.

4. A certain "Inggo", who is from Brgy. Osmena and mentally handicapped, was arrested and tortured by soldiers in their camp.

The NDF-EV spokesperson also dismissed allegations the NPA violates international humanitarian law as old hat. "Regarding the Dec. 14 ambush, the NPA has long clarified that it uses command-detonated land mines, which are allowed by international humanitarian law, while contact-detonated land mines are not. As for the regrettable civilian casualty, the NPA is investigating the matter and is willing to indemnify the family of the victim.

"The NDF-EV calls on the Aquino government and the 8th ID to respect international humanitarian law, not to make a mockery out of it in desperate attempts at black propaganda against the NPA. Because it serves the people, the NPA is willing to accept responsibility where it is at fault. But the people on the other hand have to struggle for their rights to straighten out the contortions of the AFP on respecting the rights of civilians."





Defense Secretary Gazmin and other GRP’s top official bids honor to the fallen soldiers in Northern Samar

By CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
December 18, 2010

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar  –  The Secretary to the Defense Department and four (4) other government’s top officials landed Friday in Catarman, Northern Samar to visit the wake of the ten (10) soldiers who were treacherously waylaid by the terrorist New People’s Army (NPA) in the outskirts of Brgy Perez, Las Navas town last 14 December two days before the government’s declaration for cease fire.

Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin talks to a relative of a victim during his recent visit to Catarman. (photo by EMY BONIFACIO)

Secretary Voltaire Gazmin of the Defense Department is being accompanied by Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP); Atty. Alexander Padilla, the Chief Negotiator of the GRP Peace Panel; AFP Chief General Ricardo David; Army Chief Lieutenant General Arturo Ortiz to personally condole the bereaved families of victims of the most recent atrocity perpetrated by the terrorist NPA in Eastern Visayas.

The visiting government officials were welcomed at the Catarman Airport by Governor Paul Daza of Northern Samar and Major General Mario Chan and Colonel Oscar Lopez, the commander of the 8th Infantry Division and 803rd Infantry Brigade, respectively.

It can be recalled that troops were marching off “back to barracks” to observe the government’s declaration of suspension of military operations (SOMO) for the Yuletide season when the terrorist NPA ambushed them using destructive improvised mines.  As a result, two (2) soldiers were seriously wounded and ten (10) others were brutally killed.  One innocent minor Joven Cabe was also murdered who was just swimming in the river banks after hitting shrapnel from the exploded mine.

Gazmin and other top officials paid their last honor to the fallen comrades who rendered the supreme sacrifice of offering their lives for the sake of peace, freedom and democracy.  They also gave due recognition to the wounded troops confined at Northern Samar Provincial Hospital who miraculously survived in the brutal massacre perpetrated by the terrorist NPA.

Meanwhile, different human rights advocates have already started condemning the CPP-NPA-NDF with their consistent violation of the terrorist human rights and international humanitarian law.

Some groups who are greatly dismayed with how the terrorist advances their so called revolutionary struggles are now calling out for mobilization to stand firm against these terrorist in support to the lamentation of the bereaved families of the fallen soldiers.

The remains of the ten (10) gallant men of the Army’s 63rd Infantry Battalion lie in state at St Francis Chapel, Camp Sumoroy, Brgy Dalakit, Catarman, Northern Samar.

“These soldiers died a glorious death for God, country and people.  They fought it out to the last and they have won over evil.  They have won in protecting you… For you to continue enjoying the fruit of democracy and freedom,” says Major General Chan.

He further call upon the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) that monitors the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) to look after the incident and let the culprits be charged with the full force of the law as deemed necessary to include all other CARHRIHL violations of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

The human rights groups in Northern Samar also call to translate our silence to a loud voice of support to the heroism of these soldiers and of all of the victims of the NPA’s human rights violation.  They are also calling to denounce and condemn the CPP-NPA-NDF and to make a firm stand for the sake of our children and our children’s children.





NORSAMELCO’s petition for line rehab granted

December 18, 2010

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  –  Northern Samar Electric Cooperative (NORSAMELCO) General Manager Salvador Hernandez is hopeful that its electric cooperative can deliver better services to its member-consumers in the days ahead.

Despite the frequent power outages experienced by the province comprising 24 towns of Northern Samar with more or less 54,000 member-consumers, its performance continue to build up trust among people.

In the 22nd Annual General Membership Assembly held on December 12, 2010 at Catarman Chinese Chamber, Hernandez said that the National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO) now National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) had been directed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to facilitate the immediate rehabilitation of Northern Samar’s reclassified sub-transmission line assets to address the reliability of the transmission system in the entire Province of Northern Samar.

Its petition is for the approval of the reclassification of the TRANSCO’s sub-transmission lines to transmission lines serving Northern Samar via Paranas, Western Samar, or in the alternative, to transfer the 69 KV line serving NORSAMELCO to the 138 KV transmission lines near Calbayog City.

In 12-page decision of ERC, it granted NORSAMELCO’s argument that the considerable length of their sub-transmission lines and the deteriorated condition of the 69KV structures and the uncontrolled or unmaintained vegetation along the route of these lines are the major causes of voltage drop at the delivery points and frequently tripping/power outages within the franchise area of said electric cooperative.

NORSAMELCO added that the 59 kilometers Catarman-Palanas Cara 69KV lines traverse through very rugged and mountainous terrains which hamper the necessary repairs and maintenance of the lines.

Be it noted that Northern Samar particularly the Catarman-Palans Cara section, has been operating for 20 years and due for rehabilitation because of the deteriorated condition of its structures.

The electric cooperative admitted that it is not financially capable of acquiring the 164 kilometers sub-transmission lines with a selling price of about P217 Million. The cost of rehabilitating these transmission assets is approximately P197 Million.

With these, ERC believed that the construction of a new 69KV lines is more feasible to address the technical abnormalities rather than the acquisition of dilapidated sub-transmission assets amounting to P328 Million.





No treachery, truce violation in NPA ambush of operating Philippine Army troops in Samar – CPP

Press Release
December 17, 2010

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today declared that "there was neither treachery nor a violation of the 19-day ceasefire declared by the CPP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)," when the New People's Army (NPA) successfully carried out on December 14 an ambush against the operating troops of the Philippine Army's 803rd Brigade in Las Navas, Northern Samar. According to initial reports, the Red fighters were able to seize at least 10 high-powered firearms from the defeated Philippine Army unit.

"The CPP, NPA, NDFP and all revolutionary forces fully support the peace negotiations and faithfully abide by their declarations and commitments, including their December 16 to January 3 ceasefire declaration, simultaneous with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ceasefire."

As far as the CPP, NPA, NDFP and revolutionary forces are concerned, the Samar ambush last Tuesday should not in any way affect the progress of the peace negotiations. It was a legitimate act of war, carried-out in self-defense in response to an active enemy offensive operation," the CPP said.

"On the other hand, the AFP spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mabanta's claim of NPA treachery is hypocritical and turns on its head. In fact, it was the AFP forces that had treacherous intent in carrying out offensive operations against the NPA and the revolutionary mass base in the area just two days before the start of the simultaneous ceasefire."

"They dispatched their troops to scour the area and conduct offensive military operations based on a report they received about the presence of an NPA unit in the area, knowing full well that the area is an NPA operational base," the CPP pointed out.

The CPP said further that "The 803rd Brigade deployed troops in the area precisely to give battle to the NPA. But the people's army was monitoring the movements of the offensive enemy forces and engage them in gunbattle. With the support of the people, mastery of the terrain and superior knowledge of guerrilla tactics, the NPA unit was easily able to subdue the operating enemy troops."

"The NPA ambush was carried out according to international rules of war," added the CPP. "The NPA unit legitimately and responsibly employed command-detonated explosives, as opposed to pressure-triggered land mines, to subjugate the AFP unit, in consonance with the Ottawa Treaty and other international treaties concerning the conduct of war."

Information Bureau, Communist Party of the Philippines



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